Reflections on leaving Aotearoa / New Zealand

I’ve lived on Te Waipounamu / the South Island my whole life. So today is momentous, because today I move to Taiwan…

Rainy view of Auckland International Airport from a hotel room.
Last night was my last night in New Zealand. This was my gloomy evening view of Auckland International Airport. Photo: Zhen-Kang.

As I wait to board NZ77, I reflect on leaving my home country. I’d anticipated some mix of emotions, but I just feel relief the past few months have gone smoothly enough. And excitement for the days ahead.

Presumably that’s a sign I’m ready.

I’ll miss a lot about New Zealand. I’ve lived in four cities (two more than once), but always on the same island. I’ll miss those cities and the land they’re on.

I’ll also miss the usual suspects, starting with family and friends. As a photographer, I’ll miss the landscapes and the coast, and driving an hour in any direction for wildly different scenery and weather.

I’ll miss my photography buddies.

I’ll miss the Aurora Australis and astrophotography, too.

I’ll miss my house (I assume… although home ownership nostalgia hasn’t hit me yet), and I’ll miss the charm of Dunedin, where I lived for the past 15 years.

I’ll miss the people I worked with over the past decade. I was surrounded by dedicated, skilled, decent people.

I’ll miss Te Reo and Te Ao Māori, but I’ll treasure the pounamu koha I received before leaving.

I’ll miss drinking water from the tap.

I won’t miss bad public transport, my student loan (now repaid, thanks to the sale of my house), and Dunedin’s icy winters.

Although in summer, I will, of course, miss Dunedin’s icy winters.